Release year: 1970
Director: Ronald Neame
Writers: Leslie Bricusse, Charles Dickens (based on ‘A Christmas Carol’ by)
Starring: Albert Finney, David Collings, Alec Guinness, Edith Evans, Kenneth More, Michael Medwin, Suzanne Neve
Ratings: 4 Oscar nominations: Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Original Song, Best Original Score. 1 Golden Globe: Best Actor Comedy/Musical (Albert Finney). 4 Golden Globe nominations: Best Comedy/Musical, Best Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Original Song.
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #80, week 52 2015
Old Ebenezer Scrooge (Albert Finney) is as bitter and grumpy as the day is long and keeps his underpayed employee Bob Cratchit (David Collings) in a tight leash. One Christmas Eve he is visited by his old partner Marley (Alec Guinness) who has been dead for years. Marley informs him that three ghosts will visit him to take him on a journey of self-redemption.
A musical adaption of Charles Dickens’s beloved Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is a nostalgic trip down memory lane due to its very familar storyline. Keeping close to its source there are not many surprises when it comes to twists and turns, but Scrooge still has plenty to bring to the table with an excellent performance from the brilliant Finney (Erin Brockovich, 2000) and beautiful music. Despite being the age he is when we see him in the past Christmas, Finney spent most of the film playing older in brilliant makeup and with a grumpy expression perfectly capturing the Scrooge we know, while portraying Scrooge more human than most, making it almost impossible not to like him. He is by far the best in the film even though Collings (The Invisible Woman, 2013) does a great job as the innocent and humble Cratchit that bears Scrooge’s whims on a daily basis. You know the story and one of the strongest assets of the movie is the way it manages to embody Dickens’s tale so perfectly with a stunning set adding nostalgia in every scene by bringing you right back in time for what the movie deservedly recieved an Oscar nomination. It also recieved praise for both its score and the song ‘Thank You Very Much’, a song so catchy you are almost destined to humm it for a couple of days after watching the movie. A place where Scrooge differs from other adaptions of the Christmas classic is in the fact that it takes its time with the ending. Scrooge’s change is better shown and the lavish ending with dances and songs leaves you with a big smile, making this an adaption that you are likely to find yourself turning to again and again.
Alec Guinness did not enjoy making this movie that took longer time than he expected and had him hanging in wires and a harness that caused double-hernia that required surgery.
Composer Leslie Bricusse that recieved two Oscar nominations for his work on Scrooge couldn’t actually write music. He dictated melody and lyrics to music supervisor Ian Fraser who transcribed and arranged them. He did so on several productions.
It took more than three hours each day to make the 34 year old Finney look like old Scrooge.
Picture copyright: UIP